Great City, Great Program Past Review

By (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo) - abroad from 06/25/2012 to 07/25/2012 with

CEA: Barcelona, Spain

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was definitely worthwhile. I have decided that I will be returning to Barcelona. I gained an appreciation for my identity and my values.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I enjoyed my classes as both the material and instructors were great. One of my classes was definitely a bit more work than I anticipated but I enjoyed the program. One annoying thing about my Spanish class was the fact that I felt like I was one of the only ones that actually wanted to learn. Many of the students were rude to the professor which is very unfortunate since the spanish instructor was extremely helpful and kind.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff were great! They were always so helpful and gave such valuable advice.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The housing exceeded my expectations. The location, view and apartment itself were great. I mean, sure hot water and other things that we take for granted back in the United States maybe not be the same here but it was a great experience. The only thing is that I would have liked a better way of finding roommates, since the ones I had were not the type of people that I would have chosen to live had I known them better beforehand.

* Food:

The food in Barcelona is absolutely amazing. I loved trying different tapas and traditional food within the city. I definitely avoided American places since they are available back home. I suggest that new students experience Barcelona to the fullest since the program goes by so fast. I suggest avoiding starbucks since there are a number of great cafes near CEA and Barcelona in general. What is the point of going to Spain if you can do a lot of the same things you can do back home?

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt pretty integrated with the local culture to the level that several people started speaking to me in Spanish and thought I was Spanish! I

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

N/A

* Safety:

Barcelona is extremely safe. Unless you are extremely oblivious and try to be a target, you are fine. I never got anything stolen. I think that if you dress like an American or tourist, you are going to get robbed, so do not be so obvious.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Since the program was pretty expensive, it would have been nice for some things to be included, for example printing and the metro card.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I am pretty frugal so about 100 to 150 euros, however it depended on the week since I spended more when I visited Valencia.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be careful and wise with your money. You can definitely have a great time without spending too much.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

My instructor definitely encouraged me to use Spanish more.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? some high school Spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Go to restaurants and places where you will be forced to use Spanish. It is one of the best ways to gain confidence and practice.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • location
  • food and culture
  • activities
* What could be improved?
  • including more with cost
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To not take classes at CEA but at UB